The overall objective of the proposed research is to enhance understanding of the relationship between risk and protective factors for binge drinking and alcohol use disorders in Mexican American young adults. This project will be an extension of our previous cross-sectional study to a longitudinal study in this population. Hispanics are the second largest ethnic minority group in the U.S. and the largest in the city of San Diego, yet biopsychosocial vulnerability factors for alcohol problems in this population remain relatively unexplored. We now have preliminary data that suggests a distinct cluster of risk factors may be associated with binge drinking and alcohol use disorders in Mexican American young adults. These associated factors include: age of onset of drinking, sleep quality, electrophysiological and behavioral measures of pre-pulse inhibition of the startle response, co-morbidity with other psychiatric disorders, measures of stress and acculturation, and distributions of alcohol metabolizing enzymes unique to this population. We propose to increase the participant population in order to have enough power to fully evaluate our findings. Additionally, we will be using our data to translate the findings to the development of valid animal models. In addition we will be testing, in humans, the overall theoretical construct of the grant related to stress, the development of binge drinking, and alcohol dependence in this population of Mexican Americans. This study has the potential to provide critical information for understanding how select genetic and environmental factors might interact in the development of alcohol use disorders among Mexican American men and women living in San Diego County.
Ultimately, a better understanding of the factors associated with alcohol associated behaviors in Mexican Americans will contribute important information for understanding the causes of alcohol abuse and dependence and might ultimately aid in the development of efficacious and culturally sensitive prevention and intervention programs.
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